Deserting the road race

Long time, no post, my bad. 

I did run the marathon without any training. I completed the race. I didn't run a great time. I had to walk a lot. But overall, it wasn't too bad. 

The thing about running a marathon without any training is that you need to have run a marathon before (which I said in my earlier post). Marathons are almost entirely mental games between you and the remaining miles. Once you've figured out a decent way to cope with that game, you're good to go. 

When I was training for my first marathon, I ran the 15-18 mile range multiple times. Getting used to what 17 miles feels like is critical. Your legs start to give out. Your abs hurt from breathing so hard. You chafe in all the awkward places. Your lips are swollen from salty sweat. Everything sucks. But if you can push yourself to that point multiple weeks in a row, it starts to suck less, or at least, you get used to the sucking and you come to terms with it. Having that base and familiarity will allow you to run a marathon with minimal training because at least you have the muscle (and pain) memory to push you to the finish line. 

Which brings me to my next topic ... I've recently taken up trail running, it's way more interesting, scenic, and exciting. I did a couple trail half marathons in 2014 and 2015, and am now running my first trail, full marathon in November. That too, the Moab Desert Trail Marathon. Again, I haven't been able to train as much as I'd like to, but a long run of 15+ miles every other weekend has certainly built my confidence. Knowing that you can, push comes to shove, run 20 miles and then perhaps crawl another six allows you to walk up to that starting line with minimal agitation, and honestly, that's what I'm going for. 

See you on the other side of the desert! 

Marathon minus training

I've registered for the Foot Traffic Flat marathon in Portland on July 4, 2014. I ran my first marathon in 2010, second in 2011, third in 2012, fourth in 2013, you get the pattern. So this July I embark on my fifth, full marathon. The best part of this race, other than the fact that it's supposed to be completely flat, is the fact that I'm probably going to run it with little to no training. You heard me. I'll probably knock out a 20-miler once or twice before the race, just to make sure I can make it that far without collapsing, but this race will be run on experience and will alone. 

I'm not forgoing training intentionally -- I've just run out of time to run 40+ miles a week. I can usually squeeze in 20. 

You won't find much online with regards to running a marathon without training. Actually, what you do find is littered with angry comments. I wouldn't recommend running your first marathon with no training, but after you've gotten through the experience of one, you know what to expect, you anticipate the pain, and you understand the mental blocks. I've done 4. 

So I'll report back on how it goes, I certainly won't qualify for the Boston Marathon, but I hope to finish, hope to maintain my record of one marathon a year, and hope to get through it without too much misery. Here I go! 

No se peude dejar de correr

The best way to see a country is to simply walk through it. Being one with the surroundings surpasses all other experiences affording a full immersions into the sights, sounds, and smells. And since walking can be a little on the slower end, I tend to run. I ran almost every day when I was in Buenos Aires, an easy four to six miles before dinner along the Puerto Madero canal. I commit to running in every country I visit.

Some of the most memorable international runs thus far have been braving muddy, pot-holed roads in India, running along picturesque countryside roads in Kenya and Tanzania with giraffes and zebras watching my progress (I kid you not!), and even accidentally running a half marathon in Wroclaw, Poland. I don't know how I get myself into accidental half marathons, but I found a vague promise for an after work run quickly escalating into an organized race that later found me hobbling for days after (do not run an unplanned half marathon on cobble stones). Running abroad is more than a past time for me, it's a hobby that I care deeply about. So here are some points to convince you of the benefits: 

  • Free city tour

  • Exhaustion that promotes sleep despite jet-lag maladies 

  • An appetite to try new foods 

  • Bragging rights 

  • Come back home fitter and faster than ever 

  • Assuring locals that not all Americans are fat, should that misconception exist in your country of travel

So have at it, run fast, run slow, just get out there and explore! 

Ten things Kilimanjaro taught me

  • Human beings universally have an unwavering determination to conquer the impossible and triumph over the most daunting challenges 
  • High altitude workouts will challenge you to the very edge of your physical and mental capabilities
  • No matter how fit you are at sea-level, elevation can make you question any athletic confidence you had in yourself 
  • No matter how painful or hopeless a situation seems, it is finite and will eventually pass
  • Nature is glorious and creates unparalleled grandeur and magnificence 
  • Six people and six days in difficult circumstances is all you need to create friendships that last a lifetime